‘Personalized Ads’ that collects my searches

Consumer “feeling that someone is looking”
Behavior information such as search history and visit history
According to the current law, collection and use without consent
Fair Trade Commission to amend standard terms and conditions

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“I bought air freshener from Coupang a while ago, and after that, ads for air freshener appear on every website I enter. Even if it wasn’t a big deal, it felt like someone was peeking into my private life, so it was unpleasant.” (Mr. did with They saw that consumer rights were being violated in the blind spot of the current Personal Information Protection Act, and they took action. In an era where companies make money with consumer personal information, there is also a sense of the issue that it is necessary to examine whether meaningful decisions and reasonable prices are given to consumers.

Getty Images Bank

Getty Images Bank

According to the Fair Trade Commission’s explanation on the 11th, the Fair Trade Commission decided to revise the standard terms and conditions of online shopping malls and game operators in the direction of strengthening the user consent process for the collection and use of ‘behavioral information’. Behavioral information is information that can infer users’ interests and preferences, such as search history or site visit history. Online operators use this behavioral information to run a ‘customized advertisement’ business that targets the interests of individual users. When a user searches for sneakers and goes to the site, an advertisement for sneakers is displayed immediately. Currently, companies can collect such behavioral information without the prior consent of users. This is because the Personal Information Protection Act mainly regulates information that can identify individuals, but de-identified behavioral information does not fall under this category. ‘ published by the Korea Communications Commission in 2017Online Personalized Advertising Privacy Guidelines‘, the business operator of the customized advertising business is only obligated to inform about the items and purpose of collecting behavioral information. When an advertisement is displayed in the future, a link should be provided to allow consumers to block the reception of customized advertisements. However, the majority of evaluations are that the size of the click button to go to the blocking page is small and it is rarely used due to low consumer awareness. This is why the FTC paid attention to the possibility that consumer rights are being violated. The fact that the online distribution market has grown rapidly after the COVID-19 outbreak is also a factor of concern. However, we are struggling with the specific direction of the revision of the standard terms and conditions. Either the ‘opt-in’ method, which prohibits the collection of behavioral information until the party explicitly consents, or the ‘opt-out’ method, which allows the collection until the party refuses. Not sure which side to choose. Industry backlash is expected as most online operators depend on revenue from customized advertisements. From a company’s point of view, it is not compulsory to adopt the revised standard terms and conditions, so it is also a challenge to induce voluntary participation of companies. An FTC official said, “First, we plan to determine the specific contents of the standard terms and conditions after conducting an in-depth investigation into how the industry is currently (behavioral information collection).” Reporter Lee Jae-yeon [email protected]


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